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Argumentative Essay Topics on Parenting

By Barbie Carpenter ; Updated April 18, 2017
Evaluate parent-child relationships in an argumentative essay.

Parenting offers an array of topics worth evaluating, making this broad subject ideal for an argumentative essay. After thoroughly researching just one the many topics that parents face as they raise their children, you can develop well-supported conclusions about your topic. Blend evidential support with your stance on the parenting topic in your argumentative essay.

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Dealing With Discipline

An argumentative essay can assess various parental disciplinary styles. Potential topics include:

  • Evaluate whether children respond better to positive parenting versus authoritative parenting techniques. Positive parenting developed out of the concept of positive psychology, a movement led by American psychologist Martin Seligman. This method offers gentle guidance to kids without being punitive, while authoritative parenting focuses on enforcing clearly-established rules.

  • Assess the short- and long-term impacts of corporal punishment*, such as spanking. Evaluate whether this style of discipline improves a child's behavior or triggers aggressive behavior in the child. Also, assess any potential psychological impacts corporal punishment may have on the child.

Instilling Independence

Independence is another topic that impacts parents with children of all ages, making it a suitable area to explore in an argumentative essay.

  • Argue whether parents should respond to their baby's cries at night or adhere to the cry-it-out method of sleep training. Research both sides of whether babies can soothe themselves effectively or if they need their parents' assistance in calming down and going back to sleep.

  • Discuss whether parents should give their increasingly independent 'tweens and teens freedom of expression. Areas to explore include whether parents should allow children to make bold fashion choices such as dyed hair or piercings to express their style, or whether parents should guide teens into specific activities or let them pursue their own interests, such as athletics, drama, art or band.

The Stay-at-Home Parent Debate

Dual-income households are increasingly common, with mothers "tripling the amount of paid work they do each week" since 1965, according to the Pew Research Center. However, the same Pew survey indicated that just 16 percent of respondents believed a mother working full time is the ideal situation for young children.

  • Evaluate the impact of a parent staying at home on a child's overall well-being and social skills. Discuss whether children and families are better off in dual-income households or in households where one parent stays home with young kids before they enter school full time.

  • Research the financial impact of the family's decision, as both shifting to a single household income and taking on childcare costs can impact a family's finances. Discuss any psychological factors involved: Some parents may struggle to return to work and leave their baby, while others might have difficulty taking a break from their career to raise a child, and some parents may feel conflicted.

Incentivizing Behavior

Parents want to encourage good behavior, and some may turn to incentives to keep their kids on track. Whether they use candy to encourage their toddler to use the potty or money to promote good grades in older kids, parents may reward their kids in a number of ways.

  • An argumentative essay can assess whether incentives encourage appropriate behavior for the short- and long-term. Evaluate whether incentivizing behavior causes a child to always expect a reward, which may lead to low self-esteem when the reward is not provided. Research whether incentives motivate children to perform well in school or behave appropriately, thereby reinforcing positive behavior.
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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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